Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Nun

By Sati. Sunday, September 9, 2018 , , , , , ,

(spoilers!)

The Nun is the fifth entry in The Conjuring universe and unfortunately it's the biggest disappointment in it yet. While not quite awful as the first Annabelle movie, the film is disjointed, boring and makes very little sense. In truth the only people who should pray for forgiveness here are director Corin Hardy and whoever did the rewrites on the promising script.

A priest with a haunted past, father Burke (Demián Bichir) and a novice on the threshold of her final vows, sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
The film could have been either a serious, creepy horror film (like it was in original script) or a campy horror flick that doesn't take itself seriously. I read the script for it a while back and it's incredible how they destroyed it. It's complete chaos - whoever rewrote it added some camp to it (with only two moments - "the holiest!" and spitting out the blood of Jesus - working, the latter is truly meme-worthy) but a lot of serious moments remained. The result is a complete tonal chaos.

In the original script the story is basically the same but they added so many stupid 'funny' moments like Franchie taking that cross from the graveyard with him. The humor would be fine, if there were genuine moments of tension and terror. Unfortunately, whoever did the rewrites insisted on adding extra "scary" things where they were entirely unnecessary. The original beginning had just the nun who hangs herself, here we had another one and the introduction of the portal right off the bat. There's also ridiculous jump scare added in buried alive scene which would have been great otherwise, especially if it wasn't constantly jumping to sister Irene wandering around the cabin.
There's huge exposition dumps which worked better in the script, where it's some old guy in the village explaining the origin of evil, not an innocent nun in the abbey - that was a nice way of showing how the entire town is haunted with what lurks in the abbey. Everything is rushed, nothing is allowed a moment to breath. And Corin Hardy is just a terrible director - instead of leaving things to the audience's imagination, he insists on showing everything, like with flashbacks to priest Bruke's past and featuring Irene's visions.

Then there's the problem with the rules of the universe being broken - in The Conjuring 2 knowing the name of the demon gives you the power over it, here it's not the case and there's absolutely no explanation for it. Also near the end, since Valak already possessed Frenchie, how can it fight Irene in the very next scene? Very little in this movie actually makes sense and it's such a blatant manner you actually go "hold on, it's so stupid!" as you are watching it.
But the worst part is the impossibly mangled ending. The twist of Frenchie being the man we see in the flashback in The Conjuring is the same as in the first draft of the script, but the original actually had a brand new scene with the Warrens with them walking into Frenchie's house right after he kills his wife. Then Lorraine looks in the mirror and sees Valak.

What the fuck? WB couldn't bring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga to shoot 15 seconds scene? This is strike two. Same as with Ocean's 8 earlier this year the studio seems perfectly fine with doing spin offs but cannot even be bothered to bring the beloved stars of the original to make short appearance. It's insulting to the audience. And the way The Nun ended up connecting to the other films was done in the cheapest way possible - with the film using the footage from The Conjuring 2 in the beginning and then that ending using the old footage from The Conjuring. Oh I'm sorry, I am not being fair. After all, they went through the trouble of recording one new line from Patrick Wilson.
The film is only watchable because of pretty good atmosphere - the cinematography is lovely and Abel Korzeniowski's epic, chilling and tense score is easily the best thing in this film. Valak's design is terrific and for all the digs some people take at it, that it simply looks like Marilyn Manson in drag it's a truly horrifying monster.

Problem is that the demon's actions make very little sense here. Valak simply chills out, transforms into various forms (which really takes the horror away a little bit, as cool as it was to finally see the classic depiction of the demon with snakes etc.) for absolutely no reason and jumpscares at people just for shits and giggles. At one point it starts taunting Frenchie and I was legit embarrassed to witness that.
Fortunately, there's great cast with Bichir and Farmiga having lovely chemistry. Farmiga, younger sister of Vera, who plays Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring films possess same kind of delicate grace her sister has and radiates such light and kindness. I also give props to the film for not going the easiest route and having Irene turn out to be Lorraine in the ending. However the story is so incoherent there are people who are confused and assume Irene is Lorraine.

With the incredible amount of money The Nun is making and the sequel being inevitable, I'm sure they will travel that particular path. But hopefully if they do Vera will actually show up in the sequel in an entirely new scene and not re-used footage and the sequel ends up being an improvement, much like the great Annabelle Creation was.

36/100
The Nun (USA, 2018, 96 min)
Plot: A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
Director: Corin Hardy
Writers: Gary Dauberman (screenplay by), James Wan (story by)
Stars: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet

13 comments:

  1. This is a shame, because I really do like this franchise. Didn't they not release a full trailer for this movie? That was the first red flag for me.

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    1. Yep. I was hoping this was just not to spoil stuff turns out it was just bad :/

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  2. It seems like they dropped the ball with Irene not being related to Lorraine in any way. Taissa and Vera look so similar, I feel like it would be distracting.

    I'm bummed this isn't very good having just got into the Conjuring franchise. I would've liked to see them all, now I'm not really sure I want to continue.

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    1. You should, Annabelle is bad but this one was bad in a fun way :) And Annabelle Creation is really good!

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  3. Well that's a straight up bummer. It struck me as odd that the studio didn't start promoting the movie til 3 months ago, in which we only got minute-long trailers. Kinda reads now like a lack of faith in the movie with the studio minimizing risk. Judging by the weekend haul it appears to have worked out well for them. A Nun sequel is inevitable and as Annabelle: Creation proved, these spinoffs can genuinely surprise us. Honestly, I just want Conjuring 3 already.

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    1. Bummer though because from what I read this week Wan isn't coming back to direct Conjuring 3 :/

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    2. WHHAAAAAAAAAAATTT?!?!!! 😧

      A Conjuring movie without James Wan? Now THAT'S terrifying.

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  4. I was looking forward to this movie but I'm not sure now. I've heard a lot of bad things about it.

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    1. it's pretty entertaining but it's not a good movie

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  5. now this was bad.. did they just come up with this in 10 mins?! i laughed or loud a few times or was so ridiculous. thanks for your insights sati!

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    1. Yeah it was laugh out loud funny at so many moments!

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  6. It's kind of amazing that they tried to make this SO SERIOUS in the beginning, because when we got to Zombie Nun attacking Frenchie, all I could do was laugh. It not only wasn't scary, it was so ridiculous that I could only laugh at everything from there on out. After that I was able to enjoy the movie on its own terms, but there are definitely vestiges of the movie it could have been, and that seems a MUCH better movie, honestly.

    The ending with Frenchie makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. None whatsoever. It's a terrible twist, because all I was thinking was "Wait, they were pretty explicit that Irene defeated Valak, so.... WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!?"

    It's a pity, because Taissa was really perfect in this, and Demian Bichir was pretty good, too, even if his character was terribly written.

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    1. Maybe Blood of Jesus works less when mixed with saliva or something :D

      it's honestly so embarrassing what they turned the script to

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